Mothering Sunday Review – Riveting, Courageous, Sensuous

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Mothering Sunday, from Sony Pictures Classics, presents a stirring, heartfelt, drama of a woman's life, told through wisdom and the lens of time she exposes her hidden lovers, shattering, and devastating loss, and empowerment through tragedy.

The film begins with the hooves of a horse galloping freely, through an open meadow, and then the shot pulls back to see the full stride, mane flying, running, finally a trio of boys, standing on the fence slats, cheering from the side as the horse they love runs through the grove and fades.

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We meet housemaid Jane Fairchild, played by Odessa Young, as she is preparing breakfast for Mr. and Mrs. Niven, played by Colin Firth and Olivia Colman. We understand, as the camera pans the pictures of soldiers and the sorrow which Mrs. Niven wears, this Mother's Day will be empty as her two sons were killed in the war.

Today as Jane hurries with the breakfast, Mr. Niven gives her day off. About this time the telephone rings. Jane answers and on the other we hear the voice of a stranger. And in a prearranged code the two make plans for the day..

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By afternoon, we understand Paul Sheringham, played by Josh O'Connor, is the mystery man and the two, the man of the manor, and neighbor of the Nivens, and the housemaid, Jane, while they may be in love, convention, society and the unfortunate death of his two older brothers in the war have resulted in a life planned for him, one that includes marrying his brother's fiancé.

His passion for Jane, which is consuming and, as we understand allows him an escape from restraint. The burden he now carries is one that goes beyond his strength. While the three sets of parents and his fiancé wait for him to arrive, at the engagement luncheon, he is dressing after an afternoon with Jane.

He tells her there is no need to rush, no one is expected until later in the day. Without concern she freely moves through the estate, in the library and eats the lunch he prepared. Soon it was time to return to reality and Jane dresses and finally leaves to return to her duties as the housemaid.

She arrives home and is met by Mr. Niven, whom we can see has been crying. He explains there has been a terrible accident and Paul missed a turn on the road to the luncheon and struck a tree, and on impact the car burst into flames.

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As he offers to tidy up at the Sheringham estate, he asks Jane to go with him. The home that only hours ago were filled with unrestrained passion had quickly turned to unbearable sorrow. While Jane moves through this sorrow with composure, never able to voice the depth of her heartache, her mourning is repeatedly augmented as each of the Nivens and the other house staff react to the devastating news. It is here we understand, now all five sons are gone.

Almost in vignettes, the season at The Nivens moves Jane into the next chapter of her life. Throughout the film we understand the story is told by an older Jane, played by Glenda Jackson.

Mothering Sunday, a riveting emotional journey of life with its moments of ecstasy and elation, and quickly, almost as if the happiness is cursed by the gods, is punctuated by the depth of sadness.

The ensemble cast delivers strong and courageous character driven performances. Mothering Sunday does contain prolonged scenes of full nudity.

Mothering Sunday, captivating, sensuous, authentic, opens February 25, 2022. A must see!

CODA Review – Heartwarming, A Feel-Good Film


Country: USA.

Language: English.

Runtime: 104minutes.

Release Date: February 25, 2022.

Director: Eva Husson.

Writer: Alice Birch, based on the novel by Graham Swift.

Producer: Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley.

Cast: Odessa Young, Josh O'Connor, Sope Dirisu, Patsy Ferran, Emma D'Arcy, Caroline Harker, Simon Shepherd, Dexter Raggatt, Craig Crosbie, Emily Woof, Glenda Jackson, Olivia Colman, Colin Firth.

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